Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Righteous Indignation, our new column for conservative-minded lawyers.
In Houston last weekend, the National Rifle Association held its 2013 national convention. Although Houston is my once (and future) home, I did not attend the convention. I did, however, watch videos of several of the Leadership Forum speakers, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Texas Governor Rick Perry, former UN Ambassador John Bolton, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin. You can watch them online too if you (a) care to hear the NRA’s platform articulated by people with very nice hair, (b) wish to entertain your morbid liberal curiosity, or (c) want to see Glenn Beck get choked with emotion about freedom — again.
Also in the last few days, the website Neighborhood Scout released a list of “the most dangerous neighborhoods in America.” The rankings relied on the violent crime rate per 1,000 residents, 2011 census tracts and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, and violent crime statistics from the FBI, U.S. Department of Justice, and local law enforcement agencies. They defined “violent crimes” as murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, and forcible rape. (You know, the legitimate kind of rape.)
Two of the neighborhoods in the top 15 on that list are areas where I have lived, worked, or studied. In one of those neighborhoods, the 2011 violent crime rate was 91.27 per 1,000 residents. A resident there has a one in 11 chance per year of becoming the victim of violent crime.
I was never the victim of violent crime in those parts of town, though I experienced several thefts and one burglary while living nearby. Even so, taking advantage of Texas’s option of a concealed carry permit and a manageably small-caliber handgun seemed like a sensible option to at least consider. Why should I be the only one who thinks a responsible, safety-conscious response to a high-crime urban neighborhood is to purchase and carry a firearm?